Marvel Unlimited launches on iOS with subscription-based access to 13K comics

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Marvel Comics' digital subscription service landed on the iPad and iPhone on Thursday in the form of a new, highly anticipated application: Marvel Unlimited.

Marvel


For years, comic fans have asked Marvel to offer its digital subscription service on Apple's iPad, but users were restricted to reading back issues with an iOS-incompatible Adobe Flash-based reader. Marvel began offering an HTML5-based, iPad-compatible reader a few months ago, but on Thursday the company launched its companion Marvel Unlimited app for iOS.

The free application requires users to subscribe to the newly renamed Marvel Unlimited service, which costs $10 per month, or $60 for a full year. The application comes with a free trial, though users must separately sign up for the subscription outside of the application, allowing Marvel to avoid Apple's 30 percent share of all in-app transactions.

Marvel Unlimited has access to a back catalog of more than 13,000 comics spanning over 70 years. Marvel adds classic and newer issues every week, with comics as recent as 6-months-old available via the subscription service.

Marvel


Those who subscribe to Marvel Unlimited get full access to the archive on the Web and with the Marvel Unlimited application available for iPhone and iPad. Members can also select up to 6 comics at a time to be read when not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Marvel was an early adopter of the iPad for digital comics, and had an official application available on the App Store when the first-generation iPad debuted in 2010. That application, which offers sales of newer comics the same day their print counterparts hit shelves, allows users to download high-resolution scans of comics through the service ComiXology.

Late last year, the company also debuted its "Marvel Now" series, in which new print comics come with a download code that offers a free digital copy of the same issue. Users can enter that code on Marvel's website, and the comic can then be downloaded and read through the official Marvel Comics iOS application.

Marvel Now comics also include integration with an augmented reality application for iOS called Marvel AR. The application uses the rear camera on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to scan a page, which then streams a video related to that content.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    As a big comic book reader, this is a non-starter for me and a very bad deal indeed.

    Most of the new comics are complete shite, the only thing this is good for is the back catalogue, but $60 f*cking dollars a year for access to a catalogue of decades old material that should by rights be out of copyright by now is just ridiculous.

    Additionally, Marvell is only one (smaller) company. If you wanted access to all the old comics of your youth (legally), you'd have to drop two or three times this amount at least. So hundreds of dollars a year for access to a bunch of old comics that again, by all rights, should be free at this point is just insane.

    A better approach would be letting the old comics be free and using them as an enticement to get people to buy into a subscription service for the new stuff. Holding hostage the artistic work of a small group of folks who are all now dead and buried for decades is just unconscionable IMO.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    As a big comic book reader, this is a non-starter for me and a very bad deal indeed.

    Most of the new comics are complete shite, the only thing this is good for is the back catalogue, but $60 f*cking dollars a year for access to a catalogue of decades old material that should by rights be out of copyright by now is just ridiculous.

    Then don't sign up.

    You don't get to determine the price. The owner of property does that. Your option is to choose to pay it or not pay it. That's it.

    If enough people decline to pay that amount, then the owner can choose to lower the price if they wish. If lots of people choose to pay it, then your complaint is irrelevant. Either way, it's not about you.
  • Reply 3 of 25
    joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    As a big comic book reader, this is a non-starter for me and a very bad deal indeed.



    Most of the new comics are complete shite, the only thing this is good for is the back catalogue, but $60 f*cking dollars a year for access to a catalogue of decades old material that should by rights be out of copyright by now is just ridiculous.



    Additionally, Marvell is only one (smaller) company. If you wanted access to all the old comics of your youth (legally), you'd have to drop two or three times this amount at least. So hundreds of dollars a year for access to a bunch of old comics that again, by all rights, should be free at this point is just insane.



    A better approach would be letting the old comics be free and using them as an enticement to get people to buy into a subscription service for the new stuff. Holding hostage the artistic work of a small group of folks who are all now dead and buried for decades is just unconscionable IMO.


    Copyright holds 70 years after the authors death. Why should decades old material be out of copyright?  In alot of cases the man or woman responsible is probably still alive....


     


    That's like saying MASH should be free since its a few decades old

  • Reply 4 of 25


    Not much of a Marvel fan, but even if I was, I'd agree that it didn't sound very enticing and this has to do with my aversion to subscription based models.


     


    Why not let me buy individual issues that I like? That way I do not have to worry about losing issues if I don't renew my subscription.

  • Reply 5 of 25

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post



    As a big comic book reader, this is a non-starter for me and a very bad deal indeed.



    Most of the new comics are complete shite, the only thing this is good for is the back catalogue, but $60 f*cking dollars a year for access to a catalogue of decades old material that should by rights be out of copyright by now is just ridiculous.



    Additionally, Marvell is only one (smaller) company. If you wanted access to all the old comics of your youth (legally), you'd have to drop two or three times this amount at least. So hundreds of dollars a year for access to a bunch of old comics that again, by all rights, should be free at this point is just insane.



    A better approach would be letting the old comics be free and using them as an enticement to get people to buy into a subscription service for the new stuff. Holding hostage the artistic work of a small group of folks who are all now dead and buried for decades is just unconscionable IMO.


     


    How would not being able to read back issues, and maybe catchup on a timeline, or "event" that you did not get, or not able to buy now due to the major price for it in paper - a non-starter?  This helps fill in gaps for people, or gets them caught up, or even go back and read about a character they like and want to read more about. "So hundreds of dollars a year" - wait what price are you looking at??? Stating $60 bucks a year. Not $60 bucks per title.  It's nice and all that you been reading and collecting for years, but what about the new generation?  Those who only seen movies, or just getting into the comics, what about them wanting to know the back story of the favorite characters?  Let's get the new generation to start reading some of the older story lines, and maybe they will kick the new writers in the backside and have them not make the new comics "shite".  


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by joelsalt View Post


    Copyright holds 70 years after the authors death. Why should decades old material be out of copyright?  In alot of cases the man or woman responsible is probably still alive....


     


    That's like saying MASH should be free since its a few decades old



    Well said.  


     


    Hey GAZ - You know who to really ask on copyrights... Disney... They are re-newing all those coming up for all the older characters.  Think they just redid Mickey the last few years.  Think Donald is coming up in a year or so with Minney.  So, understand Copyrights are also renewable.  You really think Marvel would allow any of the characters or story's they have had be dropped by not renewing a copyright?  


     


    Bottom line - I am very glad Marvel is doing a Disney, putting everything in digital format to keep safe from loosing it for future generations.  Sad to see a grandson wanting to learn the origins of original characters and not being able to because time destroyed the materials.  

  • Reply 6 of 25
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Why not let me buy individual issues that I like? That way I do not have to worry about losing issues if I don't renew my subscription.

    I don't know. I'd suggest that you ask that question of Marvel - since they're the only ones who can answer it.

    If enough people ask for that, they might provide it - particularly if the $60 'all you can eat' deal doesn't attract enough buyers.
  • Reply 7 of 25

    Quote:


    Bottom line - I am very glad Marvel is doing a Disney, putting everything in digital format to keep safe from loosing it for future generations.  Sad to see a grandson wanting to learn the origins of original characters and not being able to because time destroyed the materials.  



    I use to collect a couple comic lines back in the day and it would be cool to go back and read those as well as bring myself up to speed on everything that has happened between then and now  <cough> 20+ years <cough>

  • Reply 8 of 25
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Uh, is this on purpose?


     



     


    Because it's almost uncanny.

  • Reply 9 of 25
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    I use to collect a couple comic lines back in the day and it would be cool to go back and read those as well as bring myself up to speed on everything that has happened between then and now  <cough> 20+ years <cough>

    Even better, some people don't have an existing collection. Vintage comics on eBay are usually a minimum of a few dollars each - and can run up to many hundreds of dollars PER ISSUE on eBay. Plus, some are essentially impossible to find.

    For someone interested in old comics, $60 a year might easily be a price they'd pay for access to the entire catalog.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    negafoxnegafox Posts: 480member


    $60 a year for access to comics that are as recent as 6 months ago seems reasonable to me. The only drawback on why I would not subscribe is that I am not a big Marvel fan outside of X-Men (although Captain America has been pretty good in the past few years).

  • Reply 11 of 25
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 13,001member
    gazoobee wrote: »
    As a big comic book reader, this is a non-starter for me and a very bad deal indeed.

    Most of the new comics are complete shite, the only thing this is good for is the back catalogue, but $60 f*cking dollars a year for access to a catalogue of decades old material that should by rights be out of copyright by now is just ridiculous.

    Additionally, Marvell is only one (smaller) company. If you wanted access to all the old comics of your youth (legally), you'd have to drop two or three times this amount at least. So hundreds of dollars a year for access to a bunch of old comics that again, by all rights, should be free at this point is just insane.

    A better approach would be letting the old comics be free and using them as an enticement to get people to buy into a subscription service for the new stuff. Holding hostage the artistic work of a small group of folks who are all now dead and buried for decades is just unconscionable IMO.

    And do you think it was inexpensive to convert those old comics into digital form, to store them on servers, and deliver them? Even if Apple is doing it for them they only end up with $42 after Apple's cut.
  • Reply 12 of 25
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member


    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

    …decades old material that should by rights be out of copyright by now…


     


    Well, by rights, it's in copyright. If you want to change that, tell your Congressmen not to allow Disney to push another "infinity minus one" copyright extension through.





    Originally Posted by HawkBlade View Post


    Bottom line - I am very glad Marvel is doing a Disney…



     


    Makes sense. They're owned by Disney.

  • Reply 13 of 25
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member


    I don't think that this sounds like a bad deal.


     


    I'm not a huge comic fan anymore, but $60 a year for unlimited access to an entire back catalog of 13K Marvel comics sounds pretty good, if that's what somebody is interested in. 

  • Reply 14 of 25
    zberniezbernie Posts: 37member


    Marvel has been taken over by a bunch of liberal lunatics.  Some of their new story lines are preposterous.  I wouldn't use a Marvel comic to line a bird cage!

     

  • Reply 15 of 25
    r00fusr00fus Posts: 245member
    Wouldn't this basically quash the used comic market? I mean, half the fun of getting an old issue was catching up on the timeline, right (the other half being ownership of a limited and valuable item).
  • Reply 16 of 25
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by r00fus View Post



    Wouldn't this basically quash the used comic market? I mean, half the fun of getting an old issue was catching up on the timeline, right (the other half being ownership of a limited and valuable item).


    I don't think that it would. Many people are collectors, and I don't think that anybody is going to be impressed by a rare #1 issue that is on somebody's phone or tablet in electronic form. Somebody has Superman #1 on their iPad? So what! image


     


    Collectors will still want physical comics. 


     


    If I were a collector, I would buy the physical comic and never read it or even open it. And then I'd do the actual reading on an iPad or something. So you get the best of both worlds.

  • Reply 17 of 25
    conrailconrail Posts: 489member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    I don't think that it would. Many people are collectors, and I don't think that anybody is going to be impressed by a rare #1 issue that is on somebody's phone or tablet in electronic form. Somebody has Superman #1 on their iPad? So what! image


     



    Action Comics #1 is online somewhere, scanned cover to cover.  Spoiler alert:  it's mostly crap, but seeing it in this format will hardly stop the next copy from selling at auction for record prices.


     


    I think this is an awesome idea.  I like the idea of paying a flat subscription fee instead of having my wallet vacuumed a dollar or two at a time. 

  • Reply 18 of 25
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    "Apple wrote:
    [" url="/t/156352/marvel-unlimited-launches-on-ios-with-subscription-based-access-to-13k-comics#post_2289692"]I don't think that it would. Many people are collectors, and I don't think that anybody is going to be impressed by a rare #1 issue that is on somebody's phone or tablet in electronic form. Somebody has Superman #1 on their iPad? So what! :lol:

    Collectors will still want physical comics. 

    If I were a collector, I would buy the physical comic and never read it or even open it. And then I'd do the actual reading on an iPad or something. So you get the best of both worlds.

    But that assumes that the only people who want to read it are people who can afford tens of thousands of dollars for a first edition that they have no intention of taking out of the bag. This is an entirely different audience.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    diz_geekdiz_geek Posts: 43member


    I've been enjoying the web version of this service for several years - I'm glad that they finally have got the iPad app up and running.  It's a little clunky, and for some reason is missing all of the history of what I've read (it recently moved to a different section of the MDCU website and got a little awkward to use there as well).


     


    Overall, it's not a bad 1.0 version.  Gives great access to over 13,000 books for one annual price, just like a Netflix for Marvel books, and if you want to buy individual issues there's still plenty of those available through Marvel's/ComiXology's app as well.  This MDCU program doesn't have anything newer than six months old, but with quite a few new books being added very week, it's a great way to read tons of back issues, save a ton of cash buying back issues, not to mention it's easier than a whole basement full of long boxes!

  • Reply 20 of 25
    diz_geekdiz_geek Posts: 43member


    Delete - sorry, dupe post.

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